GRUB Adds Backup/Restore Safeguard, Support For Going Beyond Year 2038

Written by Michael Larabel in Free Software on 3 June 2021 at 06:13 AM EDT. 6 Comments
The GRUB bootloader saw some fresh feature work merged this week.

First up, grub-install now has backup and restore functionality. Rather than just nuking all existing files on grub-install right away, the files will be backed up so that if an error occurs those original bootloader files can be ideally restored. If an error occurs prior to the point of no return, grub-install will restore those backed up files. The goal here is to ensure GRUB providers safer upgrades of the MBR and modules and not accidentally clobbering your system. This grub-install backup/restore functionality comes thanks to Canonical's Dimitri John Ledkov.

Separately, this week there was also support merged for some newer XFS file-system features. GRUB now understands the recent XFS flag around marking file-systems that "need repair" and will print a debug message for the user in such case. GRUB also now supports XFS' "bigtime" feature flag as well for Y2038 fixing.

On the Y2038 front, GRUB now also uses 64-bit types for file-system timestamps. With these changes, the GRUB bootloader now supports dates beyond the Year 2038, a.k.a. when the Unix time can no longer fit within a signed 32-bit integer.
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